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Best Buy Aims to Get Their Geek On At 'The Con'

Stocks in this article: BBY WMT TGT AMZN

One of the biggest problems for Best Buy in its quest to remain relevant is the overarching problem of customers coming into a store to survey products but ultimately buying them online at competitors like Amazon (AMZN).

Under CEO Hubert Joly, Best Buy is aiming to become a destination in itself, a place where the cool, hip kids wants to shop for their electronics. Launching stores within stores with Microsoft (MSFT) and Samsung is one way in which the company hopes to prevent customers from simply using Best Buy as a practice floor.

Associating itself with "cool products," like the Pebble watch is another example which Best Buy is pursuing. A week ago, Best Buy became the exclusive retailer to sell the Pebble smart watch, which got its start as one of the most successful early Kickstarter-crowdfunding campaigns.

"Comic-Con has always been a place for content. It's never been a place where people focused on hardware and Best Buy, at its core, is a hardware supplier," Robinson says. "They're looking for a place to go where it isn't crowded with its competitors, Wal-Mart (WMT)and Target (TGT). For them to go somewhere where they aren't a lot of retailers makes a lot of sense. They're trying really hard. They're being innovative. They're not using the same old playbook."

Best Buy spokesman Jon Sandler said in an emailed statement that the partnership is a natural collaboration. Besides providing Geek Squad support, the company is also looking to promote its streaming video service, CinemaNow.

Successful turnaround companies like Home Depot (HD) and PetSmart (PETM) have "a management team with vision, one willing to break down the old silos, to question what would seem like basic ways of bringing product to market and interacting with consumers and to look at the costs with a sunset provision, meaning nothing is justified just because that is the way it was done. We see all these elements in Best Buy," Credit Suisse analyst Gary Balter wrote in a July 1 research.

Balter resumed coverage on Best Buy with a buy-equivalent rating.

Best Buy is scheduled to report its second-quarter results in August.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.
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